Mentor Homecare Coordinator Wanda Johnson, RN, BSN has been with CDC since 1981. On working with dialysis patients, Wanda notes, “Dialysis is a big change in the patient’s life. Most of them had to start dialysis with no time to prepare. Be patient and kind. Care for them as you would want someone to care for a member of your family.” Learn more about her long-term and diverse career with CDC.
Q&A with Wanda
Tell us a little about yourself and when/how you started CDC.
I started in 1981 as a technician. I heard about CDC while working at UH in the pharmacy. One of my coworkers informed me that they were hiring for dialysis technicians. At the time, we had to go through an agency and were required to havesome type of degree. I had a Bachelor of Science from BGSU and there were two med students in the class. I thought that I could apply my science background and I was intrigued by the fact that we wore lab coats with our names on them. All of my children are now grown and were born while I was working at CDC. They all have a good work ethic. I would like to think they got that from me.
How has your career evolved since the time you started?
My career here began as a tech at the old CDC East. I later became a trainer and mentor for one of my best friends that still works at CDC. After a period of five years, I was promoted to tech supervisor. From there I moved to technical educator. It is interesting to note that I did not get the position the first time I applied. That was best at the time, because it was not my time and the person chosen was better suited for the position. I blossomed in education — it was my “calling.” I loved the ladies I worked with, and we became great friends. During that time, I went to Huron School of Nursing in the evening. After I received my RN, I started at Warrensville as a nurse. While working at Warrensville, I ran into the PD nurse who was aware of my background in education and asked if I wanted to work in homecare. The rest is history. The dialysis equipment has evolved and become easier to use and safer for the patient.
What attracted you to CDC, and what has kept you here for so long?
I did not know anything about CDC when I started and had never heard of dialysis. It was an opportunity for a new learning experience and career. When I first started, I can remember telling my mother that there were a lot of senior citizens at the center and I was not comfortable with that group. Very soon I could not wait to come to work, talk to the patients and care for them. Being a dialysis technician was unique and challenging. I can say that my longevity began with that position. Patient care is very rewarding. Having several positions at one company allows one to meet people at the beginning of their career and later witness their success. I have the great fortune of knowing someone in every unit and every department.
How has COVID-19 affected your day-to-day responsibilities in home care?
I have incorporated the COVID-19 protocol into my teaching curriculum. During every visit with my patients, we review wearing a mask, covering coughs, safe distancing, washing hands and their increased risk for contracting the virus.
What advice do you have for new CDC employees?
Try to be the best at whatever position you acquire. Knowledge is power and is best when shared with others. Teamwork and collaboration are essential for success. Dialysis is a big change in the patient’s life. Most of them had to start dialysis with no time to prepare. Be patient and kind. Care for them as you would want someone to care for a member of your family.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like spending time with my family. Taking the grandkids roller skating or to the movies. Traveling and taking cruises were my hobbies (until the pandemic). I love church and all the activities involved with church. Love naps. Don’t really have much spare time.
What is one thing your co-workers might not know about you.
That they make my day… working with them is why I enjoy what I do.